Munroe Bergdorf at an LGBTQ+ History Month breakfast in February 25, 2020 in London, England. (David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty)
Model and activist Munroe Bergdorf has explained why she no longer uses the phrase “born in the wrong body” to describe her trans experience.
Munroe Bergdorf, a patron for the trans-support charity Mermaids, shared her thoughts with the organisation on the phrase, often used to explain the trans experience to cisgender people.
She said that while she had previously described herself as “born in the wrong body”, the phrase no longer felt like it fit.
Bergdorf said: “I’ve come to understand why the phrase ‘born in the wrong body’ is unhelpful to me.
“I know why I used to use it; because other people struggled to understand, but looking back I know it did me harm.
“Saying you have the wrong body feels like a kind of self-abuse, and it’s not the same as saying ‘I need to adjust my body to be my true self’. That’s a different thing.
“We only get one body and it’s really important, especially for younger people to know they are unique and beautiful. I would say to younger people that transitioning is hard so you need to look after your body, love it and respect it.”
According to Mermaids: “The phrase is one we’ve used ourselves in the past and, at the time, it seemed helpful.
“Back then, the idea that anyone – let alone a young person – could be transgender or gender-diverse was a new concept for many of those we spoke to. That collective lack of experience meant transgender people and support organisations had to find some way of explaining what being trans meant.”
The charity added that its “broad position” was that “no child is born in the wrong body”, but that every person must describe their experience in a way that feels right for them.
Mermaids added: “We believe that transgender people shouldn’t be expected or encouraged to reject their entire amazing, intelligent, beautiful, creative bodies, simply because of gender incongruity.
“Still, we also know some people – including some of our amazing patrons – do use that phrase to express who they are.
“It is your right to use whatever words you choose to describe yourself.”